By Najwa Zulhisham
A bubbly personality with a hint of pseudo-sarcasm, Najwa is a world of creativity on her own. Coming from her failed acting career during her uni days, she started writing for fun, eventually making it her career. Other than having to do her nails every month, she also finds solace in her interior designer alter-ego, redesigning her bedroom whenever life doesn’t feel quite right.
Malaysia is a country that is home to a wide variety of cultures and a fusion of influences from both the east and the west. This country is known for its skyscraping architecture, congested roads, and also the birthplace of Jimmy Choo. Malaysia, with its many different ethnic groups, is a wondrous melting pot of customs and rituals that have been passed down from generation to generation. This, when combined with western sensibilities, results in a one-of-a-kind juxtaposition that is a pleasure to behold and participate in. Dive into our rundown of the cultures of Malaysia that make sense and, with any luck, will entice you to visit the country.
Malaysians’ Obsession With Food
Surely there isn’t a single person in the world who doesn’t enjoy eating? Every meal of the day in Malaysia, from breakfast to supper, is a delicious feast. All over the country, you can find hawker stalls selling a variety of freshly prepared foods, such as laksa, roti canai (which takes its inspiration from Indian cuisine), Nasi Lemak (the national dish), and many others. Don’t forget about all the trendy spots that have gone viral, from cafes to street vendors; when it comes to eating, Malaysians are known for their sense of adventure to try them out.
Please Remove Your Shoes!
It’s common courtesy to remove your shoes at the door, whether you’re visiting someone else’s home or entering your own. This is not only good hygiene but also a sign of respect. There is no point in having a house if you’re just going to bring the dirt from outside. The primary reason that people of other cultures wear shoes indoors is practicality. Tieing and untying shoes or boots every time you go in and out of the house can be a hassle, especially if you don’t plan on staying there for long, but cleanliness is a top priority in Malaysia. Therefore, please remove your shoes if you have been outside.
Playing Tourist At Pasar Seni
Kuala Lumpur’s Pasar Seni is a popular destination for tourists as well as residents of the city. Lorong Melayu, Straits Chinese, and Lorong India are just some of the many sections that can be found within the Central Market. Petaling Street is one of the other best things to do in Pasar Seni and is widely considered to be one of the most well-known areas in the city. It’s a huge flea market, and locals from all over the area come here to do one of three things: taking pictures for the gram, buying cheap blooming flowers or simply just to play-pretend as tourists. Everything at a flea market, including the smallest trinkets, is an adventure for the senses. You are welcome to visit any of the countless rows of stalls that are selling everything imaginable.
Feel like picking up some blooms, but don’t think you can handle the crowds at Pasar Seni? Using Flower Chimp, you can have the flowers you want delivered to the people you care about without leaving the house. A pleasant surprise will be on its way with just a few clicks!
The Linguistic Beauty Of “Lah”
Manglish is a slangy variety of English spoken primarily in Malaysia that combines elements of English and a local creole. Of these, the practice of tacking on the suffix “Lah” at the end of a word or sentence is one of the most common. This simple three-letter slang word has become ingrained in Malaysian’s everyday language and can be read as an affirmation, dismissal, exasperation, or exclamation depending on the context in which it is used. Also, it has a pleasing sound to it and lends an air of authority to whatever you’re saying. The right use of it will make you sound more like a local. Also, the term is popular among Malaysians because of the warm feelings of togetherness it evokes.
For example, to express your annoyance, simply say “What lah“. The beauty of it is that it can also be expressed in Malay as “Mende lah” which is a shortened version of “Apa benda lah“. The more you know!
Everyone Is Basically Family
In Malaysia, the way you greet someone is seen as a reflection of the value you place on them. As a sign of respect, young people in Malaysia commonly refer to their elders as aunties, uncles, grandpa, or grandma, even if they are not related by blood. Many young children will address hawkers as “uncle” when making a purchase or “atok” (grandpa in Malay) when assisting the elderly with crossing the street. Malaysians generally adhere to this custom out of respect for one another. Plus, doesn’t it just warms your heart when someone considers you as family?
Saying “You’re Welcome” The Malaysian Way
Malaysians have the highest level of respect for one another, as evidenced by the fact that they respond with “thank you” whenever they hear another person express gratitude to them. Weird, isn’t it? Nope, it’s just that they have a natural tendency toward courteous behaviour. A food hawker from China acknowledges, as stated in an article published by Malaysia Trend, that Malaysians are renowned for their propensity to use the phrase “thank you” in everyday conversation. When they receive something or whenever they need to express gratitude, it is common practice for them to say “thank you.” In fact, it has become such a routine that they end up saying “thank you” rather than “you’re welcome.” This is because saying “thank you” is simply just common courtesy in Malaysia.
Surely you don’t need any more convincing than that to travel to Malaysia. Nice places to take pictures, friendly locals, and tasty food all sum up an excellent travel destination. You can pass for a native pretty quickly if you start practising these norms that were mentioned.